MLA highlights importance of reviewing the electoral boundaries

Margaret McCuaig-Boyd
Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley

To my fellow Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley constituents, I am hoping to use this outlet in Smoky River Express as a monthly column to better connect with you and your families.

This month I would like to inform all of you about the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission. The job of the Electoral Boundaries Commission is to propose to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta that updates be made to Alberta’s provincial constituencies to reflect the population increases of the last eight years and other factors.

An Electoral Boundaries Commission had to be appointed on or before October 31, 2016 as directed by Alberta legislation. Subsequent Commissions are to be appointed every eight to ten years, to reflect changes in population and otherwise.

Overall, the Electoral Boundaries Commission is obliged to recommend constituency boundaries that respect that principle that each of our votes should be relatively equivalent to every other vote, while allowing for adjustments required to maintain effective representation in all constituencies.

Recently the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission released their 2016-2017 Interim Report for Proposed Electoral Division Areas, Boundaries, and Names for Alberta. This report does speak about significant changes to our constituency.

The work of the Commission is established and governed by the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act and the Electoral Divisions Act.

With these acts, the commission is permitted to propose up to four electoral divisions that can have a population that is as much as 50 per cent below the provincial average population. Currently two such constituencies exist. One of them being our home of Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley. At the time of the last Commission report we had a population 40 per cent below the provincial average, Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley now has a population 51 per cent below provincial average. That population size falls below the lower limit imposed.

To continue the special status of this constituency, the Commission must recommend expanding its population by moving its boundaries outward. It is also worth noting that the Commission has recommended changing the name to Central Peace-Notley.

These recommendations would result in the population of Central Peace-Notley being expanded to include a portion of the northern part of the current Grande Prairie-Wapiti constituency, resulting in a population 30 per cent below provincial average. Our constituency border would absorb Bear Lake and continue south to approach the West border of Grande Prairie.

From there the borders would continue South West to fully absorb Beaverlodge and Wembley.

In the North East section of our constituency we would lose Grimshaw and it would be absorbed into the ‘Peace River’ constituency.

After further deliberations and considerations of public input, the Commission will present its final report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta by October 31, 2017.

As it clearly states in the report, the Commission invites public input on this subject. With this I encourage everyone to visit abebc.ca/ to inform themselves further on this report and on the proposed changes.

You can view the full report and maps of the proposed changes online. On the website you can also provide a written submission.

Please note the deadline for submissions is July 16, 2017. You can also register online for public hearings.

The closest to our constituency is in Grande Prairie on July 17, 2017.

As of writing the article there are still slots available. Additionally, if you do not have easy access to a computer and you would still like to make a submission or if you simply require more information on the proposed changes and maps, please feel reach out to the constituency offices in Falher (780) 837-3846 and Fairview (780) 835-7211

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